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  • Eagles fall to Samford, 27-17

    STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern set and broke several records, however, the Eagles dropped a 27-17 Southern Conference contest to Samford on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 8). With the loss, the Eagles fell to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the league.

    Senior Raja Andrews, one of 19 recognized during pre-game ceremonies on Senior Day, tied his own single-game record with 10 receptions, a total he set last week at The Citadel. Antonio Henton matched a program record completing 27 passes, but in the end it was Samford who was able to take control over the final three quarters.

    The Eagles out-gained Samford 330-317 in the game, however, the Bulldogs held a 315-223 edge over the final 45 minutes.

    Georgia Southern received the opening kickoff but the drive stalled near midfield. Samford ran into punter Charlie Edwards so the Eagles got another first down thanks to the personal foul. After driving down to the 10, the Eagles had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Adrian Mora.

    The defense forced a 3-and-out, including a third down stop in which Dakota Walker added to his Southern Conference sack lead sharing on one with Quentin Taylor.

    Another Eagle drive went to the five, but a clipping penalty set up 1st-and-goal from 20. On the next play Henton tied yet another Georgia Southern record when he found Andrews for a 20-yard score. The sophomore quarterback threw a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game tying a program record (Chaz Williams in 2004), and Mora’s extra point made it 10-0.

    In the first quarter the Eagles held Samford to just two total yards of offense and none by the SoCon's top running back Chris Evans, but were flagged for 20 yards of penalties.

    Samford (5-4, 3-3) used three big plays to take the lead for good. Dustin Taliaferro found Jonathan Lowery for a 73-yard TD pass in the second quarter. During the final minute of the half DeMarcus Covington hauled in a 43-yard scoring strike from Taliaferro. On the first possession of the second half, Evans took a direct snap and raced 31 yards for a score. Larry Beard blocked the extra point attempt as the Eagles were down 20-10 with 10:39 left in the third.

    Henton hit Michael McIntosh on the left edge and the senior wide receiver raced 16 yards for a score, cutting the deficit to 20-17. It was McIntosh’s fourth TD reception this season.

    Early in the fourth quarter Henton tried launching a pass into the wind but Andy Davis intercepted the pass and returned it 25 yards down to the GS 17. On 4th-and-2 from the nine, Taliaferro faked a handoff and raced into the endzone to take a 27-17 lead with 9:08 remaining for the final margin.

    A lack of discipline on the field and an inability to make the plays - that’s what disappoints me the most. We’re 5-5 and our guys have to decide if they want to be 6-5. And if they don’t show up on Monday ready to go, I’ll be disappointed,” said head coach Chris Hatcher. “If you let a team like Samford hang around long enough, they’ll beat you.”

    Henton tied the individual single-game completions record in 44 attempts, totaling 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries.

    On the season he now owns sole possession of program records for: completions (155), yards (1,842), touchdowns (15), total offensive plays (437) and most 200-yard passing games (5), while tying the record for consecutive games with a TD pass (5) and ranking third in total offense (2,470) and second in attempts (278).

    Andrews added to his career record with his fifth season and career 100-yard receiving game, recording 114 yards on the 10 receptions and a TD. He extended his GS career receptions record to 119, ranks third all-time with 1,456 receiving yards and is sixth with nine TDs.

    Tim Camp and McIntosh set personal-highs with six receptions each, totaling 55 and 36 yards, respectively.

    Damon Suggs matched a career-high with 10 tackles. Taylor finished with eight, including 1.5 for a loss, while Chris Covington and Walker added six tackles apiece.

    Evans led the Bulldogs rushing attack with 142 yards, all during the final three quarters. Taliaferro completed 14-of-17 passes for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lowery caught two passes for a team-leading 79 yards.

    Davis intercepted two passes and led the defense with seven tackles.

    The Eagles close out the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 15) at Furman. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be televised live on SportSouth.

    GAME NOTES: Mora extended his streak to seven straight games kicking a field goal (all seven games of his collegiate career)... A group of 19 seniors (including two student assistant coaches) were recognized during pre-game festivities... Samford fumbled the kickoff following the Eagles’ first touchdown and David Arnold recovered. That was the first turnover gained by the Eagles since the last play of the Chattanooga game, a span of 16 quarters and overtime periods. The Bulldogs avoided any damage by holding GS to a 3-and-out... The Eagles drove down to the Samford five, but on 1st-and-goal they fumbled. That was only the sixth time this season the Eagles failed to score in the redzone. GS entered the game tied for 20th nationally in redzone offense... Midway through the second quarter E.J. Webb broke through the line and sacked quarterback Taliaferro in the endzone for what would have been a safety but the defense was called for offsides... Beard blocked his third kick of the year and it was the sixth by the Eagles this season... The Eagles are now 22-5 in Homecoming games all-time... Georgia Southern lost four straight home games to close out the home schedule, all against SoCon teams by a total of 14 points... That marked just the 10th time in 109 games as a head coach that a Chris Hatcher team failed to score 20 or more points. GS entered the game averaging 35.1 points per game, 13th in the nation... Samford punter Bob Hooper set a Paulson Stadium record. With the wind at his back he launched a 79-yard punt. The previous long was 75 yards by Kenny Worob versus The Citadel in 1995... Andrews now ranks in a tie for fourth place among the season TD receptions leaders with five. Camp and McIntosh are tied for ninth place with four each... The 1993 Georgia Southern team was honored between the first and second quarters. That Eagle squad captured the program’s first-ever Southern Conference title, marking the 15th Anniversary.